Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA)


AnchorBackground to the establishment of WIETA
WIETA was formally established in November 2002. The association arose out of an Ethical Trade Initiative pilot project in the wine industry. The pilot not only assisted the ETI and South African partners in learning about, developing and refining inspection methodologies in monitoring their base code, but was instrumental in bringing together stakeholders in the wine industry of the Western Cape to discuss and debate issues around ethical trade. The experiment has had considerable success in the wine industry and this led to the members taking a decision in October 2005 to extend the work of WIETA wider to agriculture as a whole, while continuing to serve the needs of the wine industry.

Anchor What is WIETA?
WIETA is a not for profit, voluntary association of many different stakeholders in the South African wine and agriculture industry, who are committed to the promotion of ethical trade in this sector.

Anchor Mission Statement
WIETA’s mission is to improve the working conditions of employees in these industries by:

  • Formulating and adopting a code of good practice governing employment standards for those involved in primary agriculture (growers and farmers) and secondary agricultural production (wineries. Fruit, flower and other packsheds).
  • Promoting the adoption of and adherence to the code of good practice among these industries.
  • Educating producers and workers on the provisions of the code.
  • Appointing independent social auditors to ensure that members of the association observe and implement the code of good practice;
  • Determining ways of encouraging implementation of and compliance with the code and determining measures to be taken in the case of non-compliance with the code.

Anchor What is contained in the WIETA code?
The code contains the following important principles:

  • Child labour shall not be utilised
  • Employment shall be freely chosen
  • The right to a healthy and safe working environment
  • The right to freedom of association
  • The right to a living wage
  • Working hours shall not be excessive
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
  • Unfair discrimination is prohibited
  • Regular employment shall be provided
  • Worker’s housing and tenure security rights will be respected

The code is based on the ETI base code and South African legislation, and sets out in more detail what each of the above principles entails within the context of the wine, fruit and flowers industries.

Anchor Who may join WIETA?
Any individual or body that is committed to the objectives of the organisation, including growers; producers; agents, trade unions; non-governmental organisations; retailers, and government.

Anchor How is this body managed?
A Board, comprising labour, business, non-governmental organisation and government representatives, manages the body. Representatives from these constituencies are elected onto the Board at the Annual General Meeting. A Chief Executive Officer, who reports to the Board, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the association.

Anchor What is required of members?
Members of the association have different responsibilities and make different contributions in meeting the aims and objectives of the association. All members who join the association agree to abide by the constitution and to support the objectives of the organisation. In addition to this:

  • Executive Committee members are requested to contribute their expertise and time in the development of the code and in taking important decisions about how the association will best meet its objectives.
  • Producer members are required to implement the base code at their workplaces, and to allow the association to monitor compliance.
  • Trade union members play an important role in creating awareness of the provisions of the code amongst their members.
  • Non-governmental organisations provide a valuable resource to the association in terms of their expertise, training capacity and research capabilities.
  • Government is an important service provider in the sector, and their participation in the association provides an important opportunity for WIETA to identify ways of working together in ensuring more effective service delivery affecting compliance with the code in under resourced rural areas.

Anchor How will WIETA monitor member' compliance with the code?
Independent social auditors, who have a good understanding of the sector and are familiar with labour and tenure security legislation, will be selected and trained by WIETA to monitor compliance with the code.

Members who comply with the base code will become accredited members of the association. Those that do not comply will be required to develop an improvement plan, setting out the steps that will be taken towards compliance within reasonable time frames agreed with the association. Follow up audits will be conducted to ascertain the extent to which these measures have been implemented.

Anchor What services will WIETA provide?

  • Educating members and workers on the code and the social auditing process.
  • Sharing up to date information on best practice in implementing the code.
  • Monitoring producer and grower member' compliance with the code.
  • Assisting retailers to monitor their suppliers.

AnchorThe New Wieta Seal
The new ethical seal will testify to reasonable working conditions, based on rigorous and closely monitored qualification criteria. This is believed to be a world first among wine-producing countries. This seal is a parallel effort to Fair Trade or Fair for Life, which are also recognised as ethical certifications. WIETA will consider recognising ethical, health and safety audits by other bodies. However, the WIETA standards and audit methodology will not change. Only those brand owners who meet the criteria set by WIETA will be entitled to use the seal on their wines. Brand owners will be required to enter an annually renewable, legally binding agreement with WIETA. To ensure total traceability, brand owners will have to identify all their suppliers. At least 60% of these suppliers will also have to be WIETA accredited, while the other 40% would have to demonstrate that they were preparing themselves for accreditation

WIETA has introduced a seal, which will be used either on the front or back labels, or placed on the neck alongside the sustainability seal. The ultimate goal is to have one seal, issued by the Wine and Spirit Board, that certifies the wine of origin information (vintage, date, variety), the environmental sustainability (IPW) and the ethical treatment of workers (WIETA). Click here to read the New Wieta Seal Fact Sheet.





Visit the WIETA website at http://www.wieta.org.za/

AnchorContact us

Office Address   
Unit 5 Time Square Building
8 Elektron Road
Technopark
Stellenbosch
7600

Linda Lipparoni
Tel: +27 (0)21 880 0580
Cell: +27 (0)82 864 1816
Fax: +27 (0)21 880 0576
Email: linda@wieta.org.za